Pupil premium extended to children with 'no recourse to public funds'
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The pupil premium will now be extended to children with "no recourse to public funds" (NRPF) following a threat of legal action.
Last year, the government extended free school meals to children whose families were unable to access benefits due to their immigration status under the NRPF rule.
However, they did not extend the pupil premium to the same group which entitles schools to between £955 and £2,345 per pupil for children who have been eligible for free school meals at any point in the past six years.
Following the threat of a judicial review through a pre-action letter from solicitors Matthew Gold and Co Solicitors on behalf of two unnamed clients, the Department for Education has now extended the pupil premium for the financial year 2021/22.
This means that schools can apply to recover grants for every pupil on their roll who, on the Autumn 2020 school census, was eligible for free school meals under the temporary NRPF extension at any time from when the extension was implemented until 1 October 2020.
Rachel Etheridge, who acts for the claimants, said: “We are fortunate to live in a country where every child can receive an education, regardless of their parents’ background. Yet, in stark contrast, thousands of impoverished children have been prevented from claiming free school meals and the pupil premium grant simply because their parents are restricted from claiming welfare benefits due to their immigration status.
“Whilst the latest concession from the Secretary of State should see vast amounts of additional educational funding for these children, we implore the Secretary of State to make good on the government’s commitment that no child’s education suffers because of the economic position of their parents by permanently extending the grant and free school meals.”
Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock backed down over the extension of the Healthy Start scheme for parents with NRPF after the High Court backed an application for a judicial review.
The Department for Education has been contacted for further comment.